Edge Computing and Factory Automation

, by Jim Ryan, 1 min reading time

While we should keep its Gartner Hype Cycle in mind, edge computing has been receiving a lot of attention recently. It is the computing architecture that keeps data closer to (at the "edge" of) where it is created and used, rather than on distant servers or the cloud. (Basics here, here, and here.) Dell Technologies, which is soon to release its edge platform Frontier, has a web page on edge computing and, lo and behold, the first thing you see on the page (at least at the time that I write this) is a picture of some welding robots! Click over and see! You may have to click on "Manufacturing" to see it.

So, what does edge computing have to do with welding robots? Think for a moment: internet of things, industrial revolution 4.0 (on which, see posts here and here). The machines, including the robos, will require and create data that needs to be much closer and available than it would be on a distant server in the cloud. Edge computing addresses that need.

In that connection, William G. Wong had a short article last week on edge in industrial automation: interesting products from Rockwell: a suite of edge computing boxes.

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